Saturday, December 01, 2007

Long Time No Post

Well, what can I say ... its just been far too long since I posted anything!!! We had a truely wonderful time in Tarifa back in October and Jan took some great pictures - a selected few are shown below for your entertainment and delight!

La Tortuga I finally got its long awaited new coat of paint - it was a bit orange at first but we soon got used to the glow and it does look a lot better now the whole building has been done. The new developments a few streets behind us continue to take shape and are look pretty posh. Also, there seemed to be chiringitos on the beach until later this year compared to previous seasons (the Soul Bar was still going strong when we left) ... I guess we can call it all progress. Ironically, Tarifa was in fact very quite - even for that time of year.

Apparently, there had been torential rain the day before we arrived and there was a flood so Cheno, our diligent gardner / handyman had to rescue the lawn ... Its all looking pretty tidy now though:

We will be back out soon to enjoy the clean winter air and so that I can rub the rust off my bones and get out kiting again - on land and on sea!!! A neighbour in La Tortuga let slip that he had a kite buggy that he hadn't been out on for a couple of years (due to young family growing up) - so maybe I can convince him to let me have a shot. its about the only kite related toy that I havn't yet got!!!
Hope to see you there ... soon.

David & Jan

P.S. We have started up a Tarifa Studios Facebook ( - mostly to see what all the fuss is about. Do send us an invite if you want us to be 'friends' ...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Midsummer Madness

Well, what can I say ... We finally got back out to our home from home in glorious Tarifa - a month for Jan, three weeks for me and four days for our niece (Anette) and it was all just wonderful.

Okay, August is the busiest time of the year; I read in the local El Duende paper that Tarifa's population triples from 20,000 to 60,000 plus we can't kite right in front of the studio like the rest of the year, but the place still has such a 'chilled vibe' - despite the traffic and busy beaches. And, there is always something to see and do - either weaving in and out of the 300 kites on the Dos Mares end of Los Lances beach, listening to great live music in the Chiringuito bars and in the old town squares or just people watching - EVERYWHERE. The great thing is that with 11km of beach - there is always a quite spot somewhere - especially when the Levante is blowing!!!

Tarifa is slowly expanding with the new La Vega Poligono Comercial (Business Park) opening up (hurray, we now have a great Plus supermarket just five minutes walk away) and they are rapidly completing the urbanisation of La Marina at the back of the Estadio de FĂștbol on Los Lances. Although this housing scheme is very small scale compared to Costa del Sol standards, it will give a slightly different feel to 'our' end of town but I am sure it will be for the better once all the building work is completed. Thankfully, they all look pretty tasteful and there aren't any high rise blocks - there will also be a large pool / garden area (although lets hope the little fields in front with their cows, horses and chickens survive for a while longer).

Some good news (for us and our guests) is that La Jaima disco on the other side of the Football Stadium has been demolised and the site cleared - although, the clubbers amongst you needn't worry, as this most famous of Tarifa's 'carpas' (literally 'tents') has been reborn at the back of the business park - along with a couple of other new ones like 'Space' and 'Stuk'. If they stick a bit closer to their licenced hours (closing at 3 am weekdays and 4am on weekends and festive holidays rather than pushing their luck, sometimes until 6 or 7am) then everyone will be happy - even the local mayor (Miguel Manella), who had to shut some of them (and confiscate the sound systems from a few bars) for ignoring the laws on opening hours and music (as the Serenguti found out to their cost only last week).

Another bit of improvement is that the promemande (Passeo Maritimo) has now been fully completed with the showers all connected and new lights installed and working - so beach goers can now wash away the sand, campers can get ready for their night out (as Miss Czech Republic with her Black BMW estate seems to do every evening at 5:30pm on the dot) plus we can walk or cycle right from the studio to the old town/port (even at night).

Also, La Tortuga I is finally having her facelift - although it took a few days to get over the shock of the bright new 'yellow'. The painters (Manci and Antonio from Bianchi Pinturas) have now become part of the family - they say the job seems a bit like the never ending painting of the Forth Road Bridge in Edinburgh or the Golden Gate in San Fransico!!!

And finally, the weather was a bit wierd (30+ dec C most days plus Poniente / Levante / nothing / clouds / rain / blue skies) ... but the climates are changing all over the world (often with disaterous consequences and not just for the less developed countries) so we just enjoyed whatever the day brought and chose the most suitable activites. The days went by all too quickly - either kitesurfing (I used all of my kites from 9mtr to 16mtr and my new Nobile 666 board), landboarding (which I really clicked with this time round, as the lagoon had flooded and compacted the sand right along the back of the beach), moutain biking (along the prom or out to the new bird watchers' hide by the Rio Jara), shopping (derrh!!) or just chilling on our very private terrace and watching the beach life, the ebb and flow of the locals and the passing travellers in the car park below.

So we are now back at work and starting to think about getting back out to Tarifa in October - hope you get there even sooner!!!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mad Mud Mix, Kites & Madeleine

GLASTONBURY - It seems like everyone (including our lovely niece and all her gang of friends) has gone to Glastonbury Festival this week end (22-24JUN) - except us, much to Jan's disappointment (I just couldn't face the crazy crowds, camping rough with 140,000 hippies plus the 3 day long queues for the toilets !!!) ...

... and as predicted, the torrential rain has arrived (as its seems to do each time the festival is on) so the price of wellie boots has gone through the roof and the mud is getting deeper. We still wished we were there to see the amazing line up of bands and all the side shows - but we had to make do with watching it on BBC TV or seeing the sheer size of the event on one of the festival web cams.

KITESURF COMMERCIAL - I managed to get two of my Naish kites, that I brought back from Tarifa last time, photographed and onto eBay. Already had some a couple of bids - so I am hoping to sell them both (X2 10mtr and X3 20mtr):

TARIFA CALLS - Once again, we can't wait to be back out in Tarifa. I kited just about everyday last time and we biked a lot. Jan didn't take quite as many piccies but enough to remind us what a great place it is to be at any time of the year - but especially in La Prima Vera (Spring to us Brits):

MADELEINE McCANN - We have all been touched by the awful abduction of this lovely little child (who comes from close to where we work and live in the UK), from Praia da Luz - the Portuguese holiday resort where Madeleine was taken on 03MAY07 during a family vacation. Her posters were up on the port building entrance in Tarifa (as well as in Gibraltar airport). We are all praying that she might still be found and her parents can start to try to put their lives back together ... somehow.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Music, Motion, Memories & Moggies

Well, not long now until we will be back in glorious Tarifa. May/June is always such a wonderful time of the year to be on the Costa de la Luz - not too hot and so fresh. We will be back on our mountain bikes, flashing past the local pedestrians plus I have my new Naish Shockwave kite to try out - it will be great to be back on the water for the first time since Xmas. Jan will probably pick up a few new friends, as usual:

MUSIC - To keep the UK blues away, we went to see an amazing African band in Leicester last week. They are Tuareg ex-freedom fighters from Mali who now play the most hypnotic Saharan blues/rock to promote peace. Here a some very atmospheric pictures that Jan took of Tinariwen (meaning 'empty spaces' in their native tongue Tamashek) at their concert in Leicester De Montfort Hall. I have also added the band to our Google Video pick list on the left hand side panel:

MOTION - As a birthday treat for me, I went indoor skydiving at Bodyflight in Bedford, a couple of weeks ago. Five minutes amazing freefall in 120 mile an hour winds in the world's largest vertical wind tunnel, with an instructor to help you learn to fly. You have to see it (or do it) to believe it, the professionals make it look so easy in their video clips (I have added them to our Google Video pick list on the left):

MEMORIES - I was tidying up our ever growing digital photo collection and thinking about our 25th wedding anniversary, which is due this year. We are off up to Edinburgh in July to celebrate - so I couldn't resist putting a few 'happy couple' pictures onto the blog. Being together for over a quarter of a century hasnt been easy (Jan deserves a medal) but we are still looking after each other and still learning new things about each other every day:

MOGGIES - Finally, I also realised that it will soon be a year since we had cats in the house. We plan to get a couple of rescue cats when we are back from the summer break. We will always miss Sledge Hammer (our soppy black & white male) and Lucy (our fiesty grey female) who both lived into their late teens (shown below) and the other great cats we have had (Leonardo and Jenner), going right back to Jan's first cat (Katie) who we inherited from her mother.

Anyway, must dash and get on with my weekend jobs - hope to see you on the beach, soon.